cover image Death of a Robber Baron: A Gilded Age Mystery

Death of a Robber Baron: A Gilded Age Mystery

Charles O’Brien. Kensington, $15 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-7582-8636-9

O’Brien shifts from pre-Revolutionary France (False Patriots and eight other Anne Cartier mysteries) to Gilded Age America with this capable first in a new series. In 1892 New York City, Jack Thompson shoots himself after losing the family money to untrustworthy financier Henry Jennings. Jack’s destitute widow, Pamela, turns to her attorney, Jeremiah Prescott, who’s also a private detective, for work. While patrolling for shoplifters amid the jewelry counters of Macy’s, Pamela favorably impresses Lydia Jennings, Henry’s wife, who invites Pamela to investigate petty thievery at her Berkshires “cottage,” where Henry soon turns up murdered. Pamela and Prescott seek the culprit from a large field of suspects, including Henry’s thieving steward, his gay son, and his ambitious mistress. The novel’s etiquette, relationships, and language are noticeably more casual than its period’s norms, but O’Brien captures the colorful details and varied characters of an opulent era deftly. Agent: Evan Marshall, Evan Marshall Agency. (Aug.)